What to do if your estimate doesn’t get accepted?

Developers and managers sometimes worry that presenting an estimate that’s too high will cause the project to
be rejected. That’s OK. Executive management has both the responsibility and the right to decide that a project
is not cost-justified. When technical staff low-balls a project estimate, it denies the executives important
information they need to make effective decisions, effectively undermining the executive’s decision-making
authority. This results in diverting company resources from projects that are cost-justified to projects that aren’t
cost-justified. Good projects aren’t supported adequately, and bad projects are supported excessively. The
whole scenario is incredibly unhealthy for the business, and it tends to end unpleasantly for the people involved
in the projects that should not have been approved in the first place.

Developers and managers sometimes worry that presenting an estimate that’s too high will cause the project to  be rejected. That’s OK. Executive management has both the responsibility and the right to decide that a project is not cost-justified. When technical staff low-balls a project estimate, it denies the executives important information they need to make effective decisions, effectively undermining the executive’s decision-making authority. This results in diverting company resources from projects that are cost-justified to projects that aren’t cost-justified. Good projects aren’t supported adequately, and bad projects are supported excessively. The whole scenario is incredibly unhealthy for the business, and it tends to end unpleasantly for the people involved in the projects that should not have been approved in the first place.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “What to do if your estimate doesn’t get accepted?

  1. PM Hut says:

    So what you’re saying is just to be honest in your estimates, regardless on whether the project will be accepted or not.

    However, there is one issue that you forgot to mention, if you keep giving estimates and your estimates keep getting rejected by the executives, then they might be looking for someone else to give “better” estimates. I think we’ve all seen this.

  2. […] Silva has a short but sweet post on estimate rejection here.   I love his point that estimates must be “honest” because:  When technical staff […]

  3. Rui Silva says:

    I see your point.
    My experience now tells me that things are not so easy.

    Attitudes that helps:

    – Get time to make a good requirements analysis. That we help you to be more confidente in your estimates
    – Find out the deadlines. That will help you to design a suitable solution
    – Split the plan into phases.
    – Build a sustainable plan. When presenting your plan you need to be able to explain and justify all the details
    – Provide alternative plans
    – If possible support your decisions based on past and simillar projects

    Attitudes that do not help

    – Be intransigent. Is this or nothing
    – Over protective. You will do nothing this way

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: